What is Lupus? (Also called SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus). What symptoms of Lupus were you experiencing?
When my son was born 30 years ago I was experiencing severe joint pain mostly in my hands to start. There was one point when I could not open my mouth to feed myself because my jaw was seemingly frozen in closed position.
This is Lupus and that experience was my introduction to this autoimmune disease. The pain (AKA Inflammation) in my joints are symptoms of the disease.
Lupus is a chronic immune disorder with an overactive immune system that will attack healthy tissue thinking it is an invader like a virus or bacteria.
This manifests in a variety of ways… I have had sepsis, kidney failure, pleurisy…all of which has landed me in the hospital with dim prognosis.
Does food make a difference in how you feel?
When I was finally diagnosed with Lupus I was in the hospital overcoming kidney failure. My son was just beginning to walk. I made a decision to help my body in any way I can to manage this disease. I was told that I may not live past 40 years of age. But I was going to be the healthiest person I can be for as long as I can!
The only means I had control of was what I ate and how I lived — diet and lifestyle…
So for the last 30 years I have studied food/nutrition as it relates to Lupus and other diseases, illnesses and dysfunctions.
What kinds of foods did you stop eating in order to ease your symptoms?
I am feeling more energy than ever now with removing known inflammatory foods like milk/dairy, wheat/grains/gluten, legumes, sugar/carbs, red meats, keeping proteins on the low side as well.
Also nightshades are off my plate such as peppers, eggplant, tomatoes.
I am not the food police however…and if I eat some chopped peppers once in awhile I don’t stress. Because stressing out over foods is deleterious as well!
For example, I can say that in the past 6 months I have eaten one or two forkfuls of peppers – it isn’t a majority of my diet — this is the difference. These are overall guidelines I live by.
What other lifestyle tweaks help keep your symptoms at bay?
Balancing exercise with sleep. I have a rigorous schedule and no matter how busy I am I make sure 2 things happen. I get exercise and I get sleep. If I have to choose between sleeping and eating I choose sleeping. It is regenerative for mind and body.
I eat with long breaks in between. I want to feel absolutely hungry before I eat. There are many metabolic and health-supporting reasons for this. But overall it reduces stress on my biology while enabling systemic functions that otherwise would not take place many of which are hormonal and regenerative.
Another important lifestyle tweak…products used on my body are not chemical based, but rather more food based (if I can eat it then it is okay to put on my body). So I use coconut and avocado oil as moisturizer. I use earth-based ingredients for makeups and masks. I even use a chlorine filter on my shower head. And I get sunlight and fresh air.
Also, I am mindful of stressors. If too much stress (negative stress) enters my life I either reduce or remove the stressor or take a break from that particular stressor by way of a long walk or meditative time or sleep!
Are there any healthy online resources or books that you would share with someone who is going through a Lupus Diagnosis?
I have not found any useful Lupus information online. There is an author – Isabella Went — who I like and she wrote a book about autoimmune disease focused on hashimoto but there are basics with all autoimmune diseases and so I liked her information. The book is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.
What will you be teaching at Take Back Your Health LA this spring?
I am happy to be in LA this spring to demonstrate through 2 new original recipes how I eat in a nutrient-dense way with delicious food! These dishes are so delicious and satiating to sustain energy for hours without feeling hungry.
I will introduce a couple less-used ingredients to expand the audience knowledge base just a bit. We have access to so many amazing foods and I want to broaden the audience’s scope in baby steps.
At TBYH LA 2017 I will perform a cooking demonstration and prepare Seed-Nola Tostada with Avocado-Mesquite Sauce and Nut-Nola Key Lime bars. Both are delicious and vegan that are geared for families. I will have the recipes to hand out so the whole family can make these recipes at home anytime.
What are you looking forward to at Take Back Your Health LA?
Meeting everyone who is attending is number one!
Sharing my story also. It can be daunting to be faced with a disease diagnosis or even recovering from a hospital stay and feeling weak and sick. Being overweight. I can say from experience your body will recover when provided the tools necessary! I want to share this knowledge as well.
We can’t wait to see Stephanie at TBYH LA so soon! Come out and join us. More info here: www.TakeBackYourHealthConference.com
Keep taking back your health,
Photo credit: Robin Shirley and Stephanie Stierhoff